ACL Tears

1. What is the ACL?

The anterior cruciate ligament connects the thigh bone (femur) to the shin bone (tibia) and is one of the four main stabilizers of the knee joint.

2. How is the ACL injured?

The ACL can be sprained (partially stretched or completely torn) by noncontact injuries (such as landing from a jump or pivoting) or by contact injuries (such as a blow to the outside aspect of the knee.

3. How are ACL tears diagnosed?

Usually ACL tears are diagnosed with specific physical exam maneuvers. However, it is sometimes difficult to get accurate examinations in the setting of an acute injury. X-rays show f there are any associated bony injuries. MRIs are used to confirm a torn ACL as well as determine if there are any other associated injuries such as a meniscus tear or cartilage injury.

4. How are ACL tears treated?

If the ACL is completely torn, surgical reconstruction is usually recommended. Some people can be very active without their ACL, but the majority of people will not feel stable with high-level athletic activities and will either give them up or place their knee at risk for further injury by competing with an unstable knee.

5. How is the ACL reconstructed?

We perform arthroscopically assisted ACL reconstructions. This involves recreating the ACL by placing a graft to act like the old ACL.

6. What type of grafts are there?

We offer several graft options. An autograft is your own tissue, such as your a portion of your patella tendon or hamstring tendons. An allograft is tissue donated from a cadaver.